Objective: The aims of this study were: (i) to determine whether the severity of post-hemiplegic shoulder subluxation in stroke patients correlates with soft-tissue injury; and (ii) to determine the shoulder subluxation measurement cutoff points that are indications for further ultrasound examination for soft-tissue injuries in these patients. Design: Cross-sectional study. Patients: A total of 39 stroke patients with shoulder subluxation. Methods: Shoulder subluxation was evaluated by physical examination, radiography and ultrasound. Soft-tissue injuries were assessed by ultrasound. Subluxation parameters were entered into stepwise logistic regression analyses to predict biceps and supraspinatus tendonitis. With the assumption that shoulder subluxation can be a predisposing factor for tendonitis, receiver operating characteristic curves for shoulder subluxation parameters of the affected side were used to determine cut-off points for optimal sensitivity and specificity of biceps and supraspinatus tendonitis. Results: Shoulder subluxation lateral distance, measured by physical examination, is a predictor for supraspinatus tendonitis (odds ratio = 34.9, p = 0.036). Further ultrasound investigation for soft-tissue injury is indicated when subluxation lateral distance, measured by physical examination is ≥ 2.25 cm or, measured by radiographic examination, ≥ 3.18 cm for lateral distance, ≥ 3.08 cm for vertical distance, or ≥ 2.65 cm for horizontal distance. Conclusion: When post-hemiplegic shoulder subluxation measurements exceed the above-mentioned cut-off points in physical or radiographic examinations, further ultrasound evaluation for soft-tissue injury is recommended.
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